A Piece of Heaven in Insurance Hell
Do you really – and I mean really - understand the ins and outs of your business insurance? If you do, my hat’s off to you. I do not.
For a long time, Dero relied on commission-based brokers to guide us through the maze of coverage and pricing options. To get our heads around the policies, we’d try to give them hypothetical scenarios. What if this type of accident happened -- would we be covered? At what level would we be covered? It was never easy to get a definite answer, particularly in writing. We switched brokers, but we never knew if we were getting a good deal, no matter who we used.
After a particularly frustrating day of poring over documents at our annual renewal review, I made a wish. I wished for a genie that would magically make sure we had all of the insurance to protect our business, no unnecessary coverage, and all for a fair price.
My wish came true.
By pure dumb luck, we stumbled upon a fee-only consultant that knows the insurance industry inside and out. Their sole purpose in life is to scrutinize our policies and make sure our broker and underwriter are doing their jobs. Of course, our broker and underwriter were not particularly thrilled to hear that we had hired someone to represent us. Our advisor was up front from the beginning – some brokers would not be willing to work with him, but they wouldn’t be worth having when push came to shove anyway. The consultant’s references were solid, we trusted them, and we signed up.
From that day forward, the advisor became the point of contact for our broker. Any requests from the broker had to come through our advisor - we were copied on all correspondence, of course. Our advisor could make requests from us, but the broker couldn’t.
In the first year after making this switch, sure enough, we ended up dropping a broker. We also gained confidence that coverage would definitely be in place should we need it. And the icing on the cake - we saved thousands and thousands of dollars, even after paying the consultant’s fee.
It wasn't pure luck that led us to our insurance advisor. The problem of insurance came up during a discussion with one of our vendors, who recommended the advisor. I don't have any magic method to help you find an advisor, but it might be worth complaining about your insurance a bit more, and asking around. Most advisors charge less than $5,000 a year, and given how much time, stress, and money we've saved, it's been money well-spent.
If only a genie like that existed for the health insurance industry, as well……..
HANS STEEGE | Columnist | CEO, Dero Bike Racks
Hans Steege is a co-owner and the CEO of Dero, a Minneapolis-based business that builds bicycle-friendly communities worldwide. Before landing at Dero, Hans worked as an engineer in the machine design and product development industries.